Designer talks fashion, wine, and philanthropy

Nicole Miller To Be Honored By Waxman Foundation




Nicole Miller is a globally recognized fashion designer, known for her colorful prints and patterns and designs that are bold, yet classic. The latest additions to the Sag Harbor resident’s resume include rosé creator, and a sunglass line for Optyx in East Hampton. Miller will also serve as the fashion honoree at this summer’s Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s 15th annual Hamptons Happening on Saturday, July 13, starting at 6:30 PM.

“I did a fashion show benefit for Samuel Waxman several years back and I knew about all the good work they do supporting cutting-edge research and technology. I was happy to help such a great organization,” said Miller.

SWCRF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The foundation is a pioneer in cancer research and its mission is to eradicate cancer by funding cutting-edge research that identifies and corrects abnormal gene function that causes the disease. The theme of this year’s event is Tour de Cuisine, so that guests can savor the flavors of the world without leaving the East End.

“I have known many people the disease has affected, and we desperately need better solutions to fight it. I like the work that Samuel Waxman does because they are funding innovation and breakthrough technology,” Miller continued.

Since its inception in 1976, the SWCRF has awarded approximately $100 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe. The research the foundation conducts is the basis for developing minimally toxic treatments for patients. Through its collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, researchers share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research.

This summer’s event will also include honorees Chef Lidia Bastianich; Ian Duke, local restaurant owner of Southampton Social Club, Union Cantina, and Union Burger Bar; and Antonella Bertello, the owner of the Baker House 1650 in East Hampton. Guests will enjoy food tastings by restaurants like Bastianich’s Becco, Felidia, and Del Posto; bites by Indian chef Palak Patel; along with samplings from Centro Trattoria & Bar, Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine, Saaz Restaurant, South Fork Bakery, among many others. There will also be live music from Pat Farrell and the Cold Spring Harbor Band — “The Billy Joel Tribute Show.”

As a designer, Miller has always been on the cutting edge of latest trends. What she’s most enjoying this summer? “I am loving all the vintage crepe dresses that are so similar to my dresses from the ’80s which everyone wears with sneakers today!” stated Miller.

Earlier this season, she launched a namesake rosé, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc grapes from Bordeaux, created at Château Auguste and vinified by Damien Landouar. “Being half French, I always grew up with wine,” said Miller. “When I entertain, I love to serve wine, and especially rosé during the summer. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at it. I was excited to have a wine from Bordeaux, where I have been many times.”

“What is unique about my rosé is that it’s made in Bordeaux while most are made in Provence,” she continued. “As a Francophile and wine-lover, I fell in love with the area years ago. I was impressed to learn how the great Châteaux from Bordeaux were able to produce such incredible rosés. I’ve traveled around Provence as well and visited many vineyards and I found this rosé far superior.”

The rosé is available at Cavaniola’s Market in Sag Harbor, as well as restaurants like Dopo La Spiaggia and Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. “This rosé is elegant and perfectly balanced with aromas of fresh raspberries and strawberries. It is dry and aromatic, luscious but light,” said Miller.

When asked how being a fashion designer has helped inspire some of the other projects she’s involved in, she described, “The process is always a bit similar. I try to do lots of research so I can understand whatever product I am working on. And then I filter everything until it feels right.”

As for her line of glasses for Optyx in East Hampton that launched this summer: “So many sunglasses look alike that I wanted to do something special. I started with a vintage movie star idea and went from there. I think they are reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire,’” said the designer.

Miller is a strong businesswoman, who opened her first boutique on Madison Avenue in 1986. She cites her mother as an influence. “She was French and always had very strong opinions and great style,” said the designer. Miller’s brand has grown to include boutiques in major cities across the United States and is sold in a number of high-end department stores.

On the East End, she enjoys spending her time at farm stands and farmers markets. “I always buy far more than I can consume,” said Miller. “I love making rhubarb pies and I love all the fresh produce, from the corn to the tomatoes.”

As for favorite spots in Sag Harbor, she said, “I love Dopo La Spiaggia, Baron’s Cove, and Le Bilboquet. I love Cavaniola’s Cheese Shop, Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee, and Sag Harbor Bakery. I stay local as much as I can.”

For tickets to the Hamptons Happening event on July 13, visit www.waxmancancer.org.

jessica@indyeastend.com